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Administering Oral Meds

For any task you may ever take on in life, there is at least as many ways to accomplish the task as there are people in this world who might attempt the same. The following is just my way of giving meds to most of the rats most of the time.

The process I use (shown below) works (for me) because I don't really give them much of a choice. It works because after 3-5 days of being approached in the same way, they just want to get it over with (probably, but routine really does help as does not flipping them on their backs or restraining them in such a way that they just expect the worst to happen).

Of course if the medicine is more awful than usual, they'll kick and protest and make it considerably more challenging for everyone involved. And, of course, what really makes this work (for me) is confidence (in handling), and brevity (in administration of meds - about 8 seconds to pull them from their cage, get a grip, and squirt the meds in their mouth) which can only happen because I give "mouthfuls" at a time (0.1 cc for girls, 0.15 cc for boys) and generally, in between each mouthful, I put them back in their cage until they swallow.

Another huge helpful measure is that I don't let them have a foothold when actually giving them the meds. I pick them up, put my hand around them (as pictured) and while getting this good grip they do have a foothold, and as soon as I'm ready to give them the meds, I hold them out away from me, stick the syringe in their mouth (above the tongue, behind the incisors, pointed up toward the roof of their mouth), and push the plunger. If I see a tongue lapping, I give them the next portion (if applicable). If they're being obstinate, I put them back in their cage until I see them begin to groom and then repeat the process.

Views from front and back:

Views from each side:

There is little chance to kick, little chance to protest, and I never give them enough to make it even remotely easy for them to spit it out. Evil me. :o)

Giving the same rat above her meds.

A different rat with a better view.

Below, larger views of the same:
  • Note the index finger above his head: Tapping your finger gently on their nose if they start wiggling will buy you a little temporary distraction.
  • Note, also, the thumb which is pulling his cheek down a little to afford a better view of the tongue behind the incisors. You want to get in between the cheek flaps (one of which you can see on the right of his chops) which you can do by simply pointing the syringe upward into the general area of the roof of his mouth (but don't jab).

  • Of course sometimes they just happily lap it up. Yum.

    Don't forget Positive Reinforcement! I always follow meds up immediately with a small treat!

    See also http://mana.vinix.co.uk/INFO/medicating.html

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    Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes:

      1) To entertain.
      2) To help avoid repetition of mistakes

      Remember! Your rat is not a science project, he is your friend!

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